As with yesterday, I struggled with what to write in this post. So very grateful to be alive and to live in this small community up on the hill, one in which we all look out for each other, checking on the whereabouts of any of our group who has ventured into the city or is unaccounted for. We share drying racks (clothes dryers are not the norm here), irons, and taxis; we offer cups of coffee or tea, the extra item of a two-for-one sale (a sale we often didn’t know was the deal of the day since we don’t read much Turkish yet), and shoulders to lean on in times of mental or physical exhaustion. Togetherness is commonplace but we do have our apartments when we want to be alone. Today was not a day I wanted to be alone.
A friend and I messaged each other last night about wanting to attend a church service. She is of the Catholic faith and I, Protestant. Our plan was to attend Catholic mass on the grounds of an embassy a distance from our campus. Would it be safe to travel? If we did, would riding the Metro (underground) be a risk we wanted to take? Would a city bus be a target? After sleeping on those questions, we chose to bypass the Metro and travel via public buses. Once getting on the bus, we realized that the route would take us very close to yesterday’s bombing site. We looked at each other as the images of the tragedy went through our minds. I said, “Well, we could get off the bus and go to Starbucks” (no surprise, right?) but we decided to take a chance on safe passage across town. An hour later we arrived at our destination. I had not heard of any planned gathering for today but others must have as our second bus passed a staging area of several dozen police vehicles. Strategically parked on one of the main roads were several large water tankers, the contents used for crowd control. My friend and I again looked at each other and then away; we silently sat in the bus until reaching the embassy.
The church service was somber, with several references made to the bombing. An eyewitness to the aftermath spoke for a couple minutes about what he saw, keeping it appropriate for the audience which included children. The priest’s message was about freedom, which could’ve been in response to the bombings but I think it was not. I left the church happy I had attended and hopeful for better days ahead for the Turkish people.
On a lighter note, I finally got around to taking my new microwave out of the box. I’d purchased it on Tuesday, when I was soggy from the rain, in pain from a shot of medication (thanks so much, oh spider which bit me), and generally feeling sorry for myself. It was larger than I’d expected and has a METAL rack and METAL pan inside it. Strange, thought I. The three knobs on the front threw me for a loop as well. I looked at the box and beneath the photo of the object saw phrases in four languages. None were in English but one was easy to understand: “elektrische oven.” So I’d bought myself an electric oven. Just great, when I have a full-size oven in my kitchen. The box is large enough that I will have to taxi down the hill for the return or exchange. And that, my friends, will take place another day.